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why lures over live bait?

Discussion in 'Lure Making & Customizing' started by spoonminnow, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. spoonminnow

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    Food for thought.

    Having used many lure designs for decades has given me insight on what works, when and maybe why. The disadvantages of using live bait are obvious: storage, limited range of presentation and total area fished. Most of the time live bait can't measure up to lures that stimulate fish to strike.

    Granted, we've all been exposed to why lures work due to what fish think when they get close enough. But there's a problem assuming fish think based on what they see, hear and feel (via the lateral line). Man can never know exactly what a fish's total experience when a lure passes near, but only that a fish struck or didn't! The why is important when it comes to a lure's success and relates to a fish's senses combined with what happens in it's brain from sensory input.

    Lure design is important, not what it suggests to a fish regarding a comparison to a real animal, but rather because of particular lure attributes that are most likely responsible for the attack. Recently I've discovered modifying soft plastic lures, most of which I've owned but lost confidence in over the years. Combining parts of lures to make new designs having different actions and then testing them locally, has proven that the sky's the limit when it comes to what fish bite any day of the week.

    The fact that I downsize lures to allow all size fish species to bite, doesn't diminish the goal of finding many designs that differ in shape and action that many fish species strike. To date, I've caught bass, crappie, white and yellow perch, sunfish, pickerel, roach and large cat fish. I've even had a snapping turtle chase a lure! This strongly suggests that design trumps fish intellect anytime, any place!

    Anglers should think about lure characteristics in combination that provoke inactive fish to strike.
    I use the word inactive in that unless you're swimming with the fishes (not in a Godfather way), you can't know whether a fish was feeding or just hanging out suspended, minding it's own business.
    Lure design characteristics include the following:

    Lure size is important for reasons relating to lure action as well as fitting the lure to a fish's potential aggressiveness for that size. Sometimes larger lures in a particular design works, keeping in mind that too much of a good thing is counterproductive. Lure component size is just as important as it affects lure action, speed, sonic and visual characteristics. Examples include spinnerbait blade size, jig head weight, skirt thickness of spinnerbaits and jigs and their trailer size.

    When it comes to soft plastic lure softness, a Senko's soft plastic is a critical necessity in that a stick that is too firm lacks the fish-catching tip-end wobble. I make a cone-shaped tailed grub and only use soft plastic to ensure the tail and body quivers with the slightest rod tip action. Fish notice the little things and it's the little things that focus their attention long enough before their patience is exceeded.

    All of us have heard of and maybe cast finesse lures over the last twenty years assuming it simply means smaller in size. But I also define finesse as a lure's action, noticed by fish on slow retrieves. A skirted jig exhibits subtle moving parts: a skirt that flares and flows at rest and a trailer that exhibits a fluttering action regardless it's design when the jig is hopped or swum. A spinnerbait skirt flutters caused by the blade(s) thumping revolutions.They exhibit finesse or subtle action and as much as that of dropshot four inch worm moving ever so slowly with pauses.

    The curl tail design has been part of soft plastics since Mr Twister came out with the Phenom Worm and curl tail grub many years ago. Some believe the curl tail's whipping flutter represents that of a prey fish tail, the problem being that a fish's tail flicks once to propel it's glide and side fins move back and forth to maintain immobility and position at rest. Aquatic life is filled with displays of unique, subtle actions per species - far more natural than that of most lures.

    These finesse designs have prove themselves by catching hundreds of fish over just a few years after accidentally discovered:
    CeqO6RJ.jpg

    Most of us have heard about the lateral line and, along with sight and hearing, how it allows a fish to accurately detect and evaluate lure size, motion, shape and speed. My guess is that is that a fish's senses instantly combines lure characteristics to form a moving (or still) picture of something of which it has never experienced in its lifetime. The cone tail grub I mentioned above illustrates an unnatural shape and action all fish species have struck.

    LlPAho8.jpg

    To prove to myself that fish place lure action first dependent on overall design, I made a grub with four flat sides pictured above. When ever have you used a lure with four flat sides to catch fish?!! This one has and always will because it has the same action as one that is fully round. You can't assume anything when it concerns what lure designs fish bite whether it be a Chatterbait or Sweet Beaver. Take the modified craw style lure below.

    elSu5yP.jpg

    35cQ9B3.jpg

    The head of the lure was removed from the body in hopes that the tiny antennae flutter and lure shape would provoke bites. Just one more lure design that has and will continue to catch fish.

    Other visual stimuli that should be mentioned: a lure's surface texture, color and flash. No one can say for sure that lumps & bumps, ribs and pits don't contribute to getting and holding a fish's attention, but they can't hurt as long as lure action and size are adequate. The same goes for colors, keeping in mind that color is filtered by water and sun angle and amount (cloudy days, night and full sunlight). But I'm superstitious believing that certain color combinations I find interesting or natural may have and edge over other solid opaque colors I dislike such as emerald green. I also like laminated soft plastics as well as black spots, dots and flakes for both soft and hard baits. The idea is to make a lure more interesting to fish along with action.

    Note about color brightness: Lures stand out against backgrounds - darker than the sky when fish look up, lighter than the bottom or to the side. Even clear lures bend light forming a 3D image fish can track. So when it comes to color, shape and lure action, all contrast with the fish's environment as much as a black dot on white paper. Contrast or in other words - standing out - has more to do with why fish strike lures as with any other single variable used to do so. That brings me to another contrast tool: flash.

    When it comes to flash, I find just a little does just fine especially when it comes to soft plastics, but at times a very large, willow leaf spinnerbait blade with maximum flash can cause a bass to crush a lure (which Roland Martin proved in a tournament on the Hudson River, NY). There is no rule of thumb when it comes to flash or color, but contrast is a given and contributes visually to a lure's overall appearance and action.

    In conclusion we may always wonder what it is fish think they are striking (and I might say very aggressively at times!)? To me obviously not a real animal, but instead a moving object of a certain size, action, speed and type of retrieve that overload a fish's senses, sending a massive amount of information to a fish's puny brain forcing it to strike. And the beauty of using lures is that there are just so many different ones that fish will attack on any given day!
     
    #1 spoonminnow, Aug 1, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  2. mcfish

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    Interesting read!
     
  3. spoonminnow

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    I rewrote the post which you may find it more coherent. The other version was compiled at 3 AM and not well written.
     
  4. fisheromen

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    Was the "other version" several months ago?
     
  5. spoonminnow

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    No, only written a few days ago in the middle of the night. Not a good time to compose a long post and expect it to hold all idea to be shared or not be redundant.

    Put the ideas to the test in the last few days and caught over 45 fish per day / 4 hours per outing. I'm going to pour 2" laminate worms as well as modify other lures because of their success. The hits were hard!
     
  6. fisheromen

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    So is the gist that we should Ned-rig!
     
  7. spoonminnow

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    The Ned rig concept is similar in that a jig is used but with a large plastic lure. The action of the lure is also similar to using a cut off finesse worm.

    Mr Twister grubs were always the usual lures rigged on 1/8 or less ball head jigs, but now that I'm going through my old plastic bass lures, I'm finding useful parts of those lures that I can remove and rig.The six lures in the top photo do well on the slowest retrieve when used with 1/32 or 1/16 oz ball head jigs.
     
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